The Proteas suffered their first defeat of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 when they fell to an upset 38-run defeat to the Netherlands in a rain-reduced contest at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala on Tuesday.
After back-to-back victories to start the competition, South Africa were overwhelming favourites to make it three wins from three, but instead fell to one of the biggest shocks in their tournament’s history.
After winning a delayed toss and opting to bowl first in a game reduced to 43 overs per side on account of the weather, Rob Walter’s men threw away a good start to concede 245 for eight.
Former Proteas player Roelof van der Merwe (29) played a key role in the revival, putting on 64 with top-scorer and captain Scott Edwards (78* off 69 balls, 10 fours, 1 six).
Hampered by a poor start, which saw the Proteas slip to 44 for four, they never recovered and were eventually bowled out for 207. David Miller was the best of the batters with 43.
It was a poor display by the green and gold, who must quickly regroup ahead of what has now become a crucial game four against reigning champions England in Mumbai on Saturday.
And Temba Bavuma and his charges will be kicking themselves after again losing to a much lower ranked Dutch side on the world stage – they lost to the same opponents in a critical game at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year.
They were strong favourites ahead of the game and began well too by reducing the European side to 50 for four and then 140 for seven thanks to two wickets each by Marco Jansen (2/27), Kagiso Rabada (2/56) and Lungi Ngidi (2/57).
Gerald Coetzee (1/57) and Keshav Maharaj (1/38) were also amongst the wickets, but the South Africans were then hurt by the Dutch skipper Edwards and veteran Van der Merwe, whose 19-ball innings included three boundaries and a six.
Young spinner Aryan Dutt then added the finishing touches to the innings by smashing three sixes in a nine-ball unbeaten 23 to ensure his side closed on a high to set 246.
South Africa made a decent start reaching 36 in the eighth over before a clutter of wickets left them in trouble.
Quinton de Kock, who had begun the tournament with successive centuries, was first to go after being removed by another SA-born player Colin Ackermann (1/16) for 20.
An inspired Van der Merwe (2/34) then struck to remove Bavuma (16) and Rassie van der Dussen (4), either side of Aiden Markram falling to Paul van Meekeren (2/40) for one.
Heinrich Klaasen tried to reignite the chase by adding a run-a-ball 28 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 45 with Miller.
However, Logan van Beek (3/60) broke that stand and the wicket of Jansen (9) quickly followed. Despite Miller doing his best to keep the chase alive, the pressure proved too much for the South African batters.
The top-scorer was eventually dismissed in the 31st over, and with his wicket went the hopes of his side. Coetzee (22) and Maharaj (40) both tried to attack but by then the damage was done and the Proteas were ultimately bowled out in the final over well short – handing the Netherlands a famous win. Article by Ntsako Mkhari
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena